Whether you are sitting at a stop light, at a stop sign or stuck in traffic, you may spend at least part of that time looking in your rearview mirror to make sure that the traffic behind you comes to a stop. You just never know when the vehicle behind you will fail to stop and will slam into the back of your vehicle.
That may be because, here in Pennsylvania, rear-end collisions rank in the top five for accidents. While many of these crashes boil down to mere fender benders with no injuries, some end up causing serious injuries and, in some cases, death.
The primary causes
The fact is that drivers could avoid most rear-end collisions. Research indicates that the most common factors leading to this type of accident include the following:
- Driving distracted
- Driving drunk
- Driving drowsy
Traffic patterns often change without warning, but in some locations, drivers should expect to stop, such as when approaching intersections or construction zones.
What you can do
You may be able to protect yourself from being involved in a rear-end collision. If you pay close attention to the traffic around you, you may be able to discern whether a vehicle behind you is going to stop. If you leave some wiggle room between you and car in front of you, it might give you enough space to get out of the way of a vehicle coming up behind you that may not stop. Always keep an eye out for an escape route. Unfortunately, that isn't always possible, and you may not be able to avoid a collision.
What you can do afterward
If you are involved in a rear-end collision, don't assume that you are uninjured. Shock and adrenalin often mask the pain of injuries. You could suffer a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury due to whiplash and not even realize its severity until hours or days later. It never hurts to go to a doctor just to be sure, and it starts a paper trail in case you decide to file a personal injury claim against the other driver.
In fact, the other driver's insurance company may attempt to offer you a settlement shortly after the accident, but it may not be a good idea to accept it. You don't have to accept that fist offer, and you may want to be sure that it will cover your losses first.